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The centre of Dunedin’s thriving buzz is the Octagon, an eight sided square lined with al fresco cafés and bars, in the heart of the city. You will find the grand architectural masterpiece of Dunedin’s original railway on the edge of the CBD, an impressive stately building made from basalt, limestone and granite with traditional clock towers. It is home to the city’s annual ID Fashion Week when the country’s fashionistas line the sides of the long railway catwalk.
There is much to do and see in Dunedin. Drive the winding road of the Otago Peninsula through Macandrew Bay, a quaint harbour front coastal settlement, ten kilometres from town. Continue to the point of the Peninsula where the blue ocean and white sands meet, to discover yellow eyed penguin settlements, fur seals, sea lions and the elusive Albatross, with the only mainland breeding colony in the world.
Surrounded by water and farmland, Dunedin has access to some of the country’s best and freshest seafood, meat and vegetables. Not far from New Zealand’s oyster country, on the south coast, bluff oysters are just perfect around April. Whitebait is a comfort food favourite, dipped in batter and fried pancake style - found in any fish and chip shop. Dining is mostly casual in Dunedin with a handful of fine dining options.
University towns rely on coffee to keep the students going. Combine this with an arty scene that relies on coffee to keep inspiration flowing and you get a Mecca for coffee lovers. Dunedin is no exception, with quirky unique cafes serving exquisite coffee beans. Most of Dunedin’s cafe society is found around the Octagon area, in the University George Street vicinity and in the swanky suburbs of St Clair, Roslyn and Highgate.
It is important to get your days right in Dunedin. Like any other place in the world, the locals dictate the buzz: a pub may be humming on a Thursday, but never on a Monday, a bar may be the place to go on a Wednesday, but not to be seen at on a Saturday. Talk to locals, especially students, they will know where to go and when. Time it right and you will be swept up in an intelligent bar scene worthy of any underground city. Dunedin specialises in intimate cocktail bars where conversations abound or rowdy pubs with live music. There is something for all drinking palates and pleasures, so pull up a stool.
ID Fashion Week has put Dunedin on New Zealand’s fashion map. This one-week festival dedicated to fashion is held annually, in the end of February, when local designers make good on the international circuit. Tanya Carlson, Tamsin Cooper and Nom D strut their stuff alongside emerging designers.
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